UPDATE 1-North Korea tensions, strong euro send European shares to six-month low

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 1-North Korea tensions, strong euro send European shares to six-month low
Credit: © Reuters.

* STOXX 600 down 1.5 percent

* Euro climbs above $1.20, piling pressure on stocks

* North Korea missile saps demand for riskier assets

* Banks fall to two-month low

* Prosiebensat sinks media sector on advertising worries (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni

LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Rising geopolitical tensions and a surging euro sent European shares to their lowest in six months on Tuesday after a missile launch by North Korea sapped Asian markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX fell 1.5 percent, set for its worst daily performance in nearly 14 months and firmly on track to make August its third month of losses in a row.

Political risks and a strengthening currency denting exporters have put pressure on European benchmarks.

On Tuesday the euro EUR=EBS surged above $1.20 for the first time since January 2015, after European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi refrained from talking down the currency which has gained 14 percent year-to-date against the dollar. euro effect combined with a broader risk-aversion mood to send euro zone stocks and blue-chips down 1.3 percent. Britain's FTSE .FTSE fell 1.4 percent and the exporter-heavy DAX .GDAXI hit a five-month low.

North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan, weakening Asian stocks and the U.S. dollar overnight. geopolitical concerns spread to European markets, all sectors fell and among the only bright spots were gold miners Randgold Resources RRS.L and Fresnillo FRES.L , up 3.1 to 3.8 percent as the price of gold soared to a 9 1/2 month high with investors rushing into safe haven assets. stocks .SX7P sank 1.3 percent to a two-month low.

The VSTOXX .V2TX , a gauge of European investor anxiety, jumped to its highest in a week.

German commercial broadcaster Prosiebensat PSMGn.DE fell as much as 13 percent to a near three-year low after flagging a weaker outlook for advertising in the third quarter, the third cut in advertising guidance this year according to Deutsche Bank (DE: DBKGn ) analysts. most direct negative read-through is for German peer RTL," said analysts at the German bank.

"But this also represents another major piece of evidence of the disconnect between solid European macro trends and weakening TV ad momentum," they added.

German peer RTL Group RRTL.DE dropped 8 percent, while Spanish and British broadcasters Mediaset Espana TL5.MC and ITV ITV.L both also fell 3.5 to 5 percent.

The losses heaped pressure on the media sector .SXMP , the second worst-performing in Europe this year, down 2.5 percent on the day.

Lundin Petroleum LUPE.ST sank 7 percent after its Korpfjell prospect, a joint venture with Statoil STL.OL in the Arctic Barents Sea, found no oil and only non-commercial quantities of natural gas . in French investment firm Wendel MWDP.PA jumped 3.5 percent after an upgrade to "buy" from Societe Generale (PA: SOGN ), whose analysts praised the firm for increasing its loan-to-value ratio and the share of unlisted assets in its portfolio.

With the Jackson Hole symposium yielding no big change to monetary policy expectations, and an earnings season meeting lukewarm share reactions, catalysts to support European equities were scarce. Some investors expected a correction, though valuations in the region remained attractive relative to Wall Street.

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